If I haven’t seen my husband for more than 3 years, amI still legally married?

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If I haven’t seen my husband for more than 3 years, amI still legally married?

We’ve been separated about 3 years (or more). I haven’t heard from or seen him. He moved back to TX; I’m still in FL. 

Asked on December 16, 2010 under Family Law, Florida

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You are legally married until you are legally divorced. It makes no difference how long it has been since you last saw your husband.  However, even if you don't know where he is you can still end your marriage.  You can get what is known as a "divorce by default".  You'll have to have legal papers prepared and filed with the court.  At that point a citation will be issued and your spouse will need to be served.  In this case, you can "serve" the divorce complaint via a "notice by publication".  This is used when the spouse being sued for divorce (your husband) cannot be located by the spouse that has filed for it (you). 

The way this works is that you will have to "notify" your husband of the divorce proceedings by publishing notice in a local paper in the area of his last known address.  Then, after a specified time period (generally 30 days or so), if he does not answer (i.e. "defaults"), you will file your final paperwork and appear before the judge (usually in 60 days).  As a general rule, a divorce is then granted on the terms that you requested.


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